Keeping busy

Today’s guest picture is another from Alison and Mike Tinker’s New Zealand visit.  As well as bridges, they have flowers over there too.

kowhai flower

I try to keep off politics in this blog, but I cannot hide the fact that the English results of our general election were a disappointment to me and will lead us into a cloudy future.  Our very unfair first past the post voting system meant that in the UK, the conservatives got a thumping majority in parliament with about 45% of the vote and in Scotland the SNP won nearly all the seats with roughly the same percentage of the vote.  This is ridiculous on both counts.  The result is that Boris Johnson can claim a ringing endorsement for leaving the EU with a percentage vote that was much smaller than the winning margin in the actual EU referendum and which would have seen Brexit defeated and Nicola Sturgeon can claim a ringing endorsement for a second referendum on independence with exactly the same share of the vote with which the nationalists lost that first independence referendum.   I weep.

Under the circumstances, I was happy to have a busy day to keep my mind off things, starting with coffee and scones with Dropscone.  It is fair to say that he was probably more satisfied with the overall election result than I was.

When he left, I took a quick look at the feeder and was happy to see any visitors at all as a cat had earlier made a determined, but luckily unavailing, assault on our birds.  I do not subscribe to the cats’ protection league.  If there was a league for protection from cats, I would subscribe to that.

bright goldfinch

A rare sparrow turned up to try out a fat ball…

sparrow on fat ball

…and the robin posed on the hedge.

robin on hedge

It was fine but chilly at 3 degrees C so I went for a short three bridges walk, hoping that it might warm  up a bit later on.

Among the black headed gulls at the Kilngreen, I spotted this larger juvenile.  I can’t tell what sort of gull it is and would welcome advice from knowledgeable readers.

young gull

I can recognise a heron though and I found Mr Grumpy looking unusually alert.  I thought that I was going to get a flying heron of the day shot for a moment but he was just stretching his wings and soon subsided unto a characteristic pose.

heron panel

I paused on the Sawmill Bridge to look for dippers.  I didn’t see any but I was impressed that I was on the bridge at exactly the right time to be able to photograph its shadow falling on the water below (and with my shadow just showing  on the parapet.)

sawmill brig shadow

The birch trees on the Lodge Walks are almost all bare now but the hornbeams…

lodge walks near shortest day

…still have a lot of keys attached.


The sun picked out a pine on the Castleholm…

sunlit pine

…and I was happy to see signs of things to come as I walked back along the path to the Jubilee Bridge.

bud and catkin december

I crossed the bridge and walked along the river bank behind the school where there were berries to be seen in abundance.  These are yew…

yew berries

…and this is a very productive snowberry bush.

snow berries

Its white berries made a contrast with some pink ones further down the bank.

snowberry panel

I bought a couple of meat pies from the butcher’s van beside the Buccleuch Centre and took them home where Mrs Tootlepedal and I ate them for lunch.

Fortified by my pie, I checked the thermometer and seeing that it had crept up to 4 degrees, I wrapped up and went out for a short cycle ride.

When the sun was out, it was lovely…

cleuchfoot road

…but some clouds came up from behind me and the catching the sun became a bit of a here and there affair.  I was here and the sun was mostly over there…

distant sun on hills

…so it got a bit chilly and I settled for fifteen miles in case it started to freeze.  I was encouraged to go home when I was passed by the council gritting lorry which sprayed me liberally with grit.  I took the hint.

I saw two mushrooms on my way, one in the sky…

mushroom cliud

…and the other with some friends beside the road.

fungus by wauchope road

I didn’t dilly dally when I stopped cycling and it wasn’t long before Mrs Tootlepedal and I were heading down to Longtown to pick up our new spectacles.  When we had collected them, we headed for Gretna and purchased some warm socks and gloves for the season.

It was dark by the time that we got home.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round for their traditional Friday evening visit and Mrs Tootlepedal cracked open a bottle of reasonably priced fizzy wine with which we we raised a toast to an uncertain future.

Alison and I then improved the day by playing some enjoyable music.

While I was at the Kilngreen on my walk, I tried to catch a flying bird of the day by tracking a gull with my pocket camera.  It nearly worked.

flying gull just

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

42 thoughts on “Keeping busy

  1. I had high hopes that the U.K. would shine a light and show us the way but it wasn’t to be. Yet. Maybe we’ll have to shine the light.
    If the hedge that the robin perched on was snowy that would be a perfect Christmas card.
    Mushroom clouds aren’t usually looked on fondly over here but I do like that one. I wonder if it was an anvil cloud.

  2. That sweet robin took my mind right off any politics. It’s simply too awful to contemplate whether here or other there where you are.

  3. Nothing is eaten as hot as it was cooked. So lets wait and see what we will be served. – The berries on our female yew (yes we’ve got a male yew too) were devoured by the blackbirds and others long ago.

    1. We have got a lot of berries still; about but not many blackbirds at present. There were a lot earlier in the year but they seem to have moved on. I will take your advice and let things cool down a bit. My biggest worry is what will happen and who will get blamed when things don’t go as well as the impossible promises suggested.

  4. It seems like there is a good deal of political dissatisfaction on both sides of the pond. Thanks for posting these excellent pictures to take our minds off this sorry state of affairs.

  5. Oh my. Between elections and marauding cats and attacking gritters, it’s been a difficult day for you. I do hope the new eyeglasses worked out!

  6. I’m favouring juvenile Lesser Black Backed gull. Mainly as I don’t recall you posting pictures of a Herring Gull on the river.
    Were they scotch pies? Always a treat when visiting my grandparents.We’re in Newcastle for son’s choir’s Christmas concert, might try and find some here.
    P.s. I’m weeping with you, this might lighten the mood.

    1. You might be right about the gull because of the comparative rarity of herring gulls here. This was a mince pie rather than a traditional mutton pie. You don’t seem to able to find the sort of hot mutton pie where the fat ran down your chin as you ate it any more.

  7. I too wept. The results coming the day after my brothers funeral, I’d nothing in reserve to stop them. I used pussy willow and hazel catkins in his funeral flowers, brighter days will come. Is the cloud a lenticular cloud?

    1. I can’t answer your cloud question with any confidence but it might be. I was also thinking of anvil cloud. I was sorry to hear about your brother’s death but I am glad that you got back for his funeral and were able to say goodbye in a way.

  8. Love the flower from NZ! I’m sure all the lovely sights you saw on your walk and cycle relieved your furrowed brow a little …deep breaths and it will all turn out Ok!

    1. Good advice. I am breathing deeply. As to the future, I am entirely with our national bard when he wrote : “An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
      I guess an’ fear!

  9. I reckon that’s a 2 year old herring gull. I won’t get into politics other than to say I don’t trust any of them. Cheers

    1. That was a possible thought but the legs seem very red. As to politicians, I trust quite a lot of them but the system makes it hard for honest politicians to thrive.

  10. It can be tough to have a friend who doesn’t realize when an election is disastrous. 🙂 You are very loyal friends to get through that awkwardness. I do hope for a Scottish independence miracle. Seems like it is high time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: